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Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne…
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Back to the Homeplace (edition 2010)

by William Leverne Smith

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148958,687 (4.81)2
Member:rathsackfamily
Title:Back to the Homeplace
Authors:William Leverne Smith
Info:CreateSpace (2010), Paperback, 266 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith

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Back to the Homeplace is a story of families and the ties that bind them together, and the lengths the matriarchs of the Bevins family went to in order to preserve the Homeplace!

Upon the death of Mildred Bevins, the family was shocked to find the terms of the will that she and her husband Frank had devised fifteen years earlier. Their will stated that four Bevin's children had to live for two years on the homeplace, with each of the children being assigned 80 acres to manage and maintain, and at the end of the two years, if the minimum requirements set forth in the will aren't met then the Homeplace will be donated to the State University. Will the Bevin's children be able to work together and meet the terms of the will, or will they lose it?

Each of the Bevin's siblings have their own set of problems that they bring with them. Bart had given up his job in real estate when his father Frank died, and he had always assumed that the farm would someday be his. Peter has always been a loner, but he has some secrets from his past that will surprise some, and jeopardize the lives of others.Karen and her husband Jason, moved from Arizona to fulfill the terms of the will, while things seem OK on the surface, they have problems back in Arizona that worry Jason. Beverly the youngest seems to really resent being forced to come back home. While her husband Paul and their two children Scott and Heather seem to thrive at the Homeplace, Beverly isn't happy and doesn't mind telling anyone that will listen. Sheila, Paul's daughter from a previous marriage has also come to the Ozarks, she makes poor choices that in the end not only affect her but others that have come in contact with her.

The author does an amazing story of bringing these characters to life, you can easily see why Frank and Mildred wanted to keep the homeplace intact, it had been in Mildred's family since 1833, and was a legacy to be passed down, I think the plan wasn't only to preserve the land, but also to bring the Bevin's children back together. The characters seem very down to earth and real, with problems that we all face, I found it interesting that a few were addicted to Diet Coke, and would make trips to Walmart to purchase it, for me it doesn't get any more real than that!

The descriptions of the birds, landscape and the Homestead in general were so vivid that it is easy to visualize it, and at one point when the author describes a vee of Canadian Geese flying overhead, I could just imagine hearing them honk.

The author opens most of the chapters with a brief bits of actual news from 1987, really taking me back in time, a true trip down memory lane.

A book that gives a true glimpse of how situations can cause some family members to draw together while others pull away. A story with several unexpected developments and a shocking twist near the end left me anxious to read the next book in this series titled The Homeplace Revisited due out in the late spring of 2011.

Even though I was provided a copy of this book for review it in no way alters my opinion of this book. ( )
  kittycrochettwo | Nov 25, 2010 |
Author William Leverne Smith takes us back to the late 1980s with a compelling story about a family that returns to their roots at the Homeplace (not necessarily by choice) in accordance with their parents' unusual will.

The introductions with the newspaper headlines for each chapter was original and helped to take you back to 1987, when the story takes place. I do have to say that all of the characters coming in at once in the beginning did confuse me and had me flipping back a few times to remember who was who. However, once you start getting into the story better, the characters start taking on personalities of their own and there is no mistaking them from there on out. Also, some of the dialogue seemed a little too formal for the time and small town feel of the story, but it doesn't take you away from the story at all.

Smith's vivid description of the Homeplace makes me want to hop in my car and travel to see this gorgeous place! This is a refreshingly original story that is so well-written, you'll feel as though you're there with the family, feeling all of the highs and lows with them. All of the characters are fleshed out and people that, even if we don't want to admit it, we can compare to people that we know in our own lives. The plot is full of realistic situations and twists that have you turning page after page until you run out of pages to turn. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp - get ready for a roller coaster because your emotions will be on a wild ride!

This is honestly one of the best stories about a family saga that I have read in some time. I also found out that there will be a sequel, which is going straight on my wish list. It's a high-ranking recommendation from me! ( )
  missyreadsreviews | Sep 22, 2010 |
"Back to the Homeplace" has such a sense of realism to it. It made me feel like I was reading about a real family instead of a group of fictional characters. One fascinating thing that probably made this even more realistic was the news clips that each chapter started with. They all brought back very vivid memories for me!

The storyline was true to life, and I could identify with the characters. Coming from a parent's point of view, I understood why the mother requested the children come home. Coming from a sibling's point of view, I understood the struggle with learning to work together and the sacrifices it took to come home. Coming from a child's point of view, I understood the frustration and sense of loss.

Dr. Bill certainly has a fantastic way of presenting a beautiful story. This heartwarming book is about dreams and failures, estrangements and reunions, love and disappointment, and the journey of finding the importance of family. I found it difficult to put down, as I wanted to know what happened next. I can't wait to see where Dr. Bill's next book will lead!! ( )
  tweezle | Sep 6, 2010 |
Back to the Homeplace is an engaging story of four families brought together because of the unusual stipulations of a will. The cover of the book is beautiful and sets the Midwestern tone.

The characters are nicely developed so that each is unique. You understand who they are and why they returned to the homestead. The families are realistic with normal family dynamics, and it is easy to care about what happens to them. The reader understands how each character’s personality – the temperamental one, the team players, the loner – influences their role on the property. Mr. Smith’s descriptions of the different areas of property are well done and it was easy to visualize the White Oak trees, trails, and buildings.

As soon as you are settled in and comfortable with the story, there are several twists. Secrets are revealed and lives are torn apart. This has quite an emotional impact on the story. I appreciated the way the Mr. Smith handled sensitive subjects tactfully. ( )
  Tmtrvlr | May 21, 2010 |
Synopsis:

An extended family in crisis following the death of their matriarch must cope with this new environment. The year is 1987. The terms of an unusual will left by their parents bring four grown children, spouses, and other family members, back to the Missouri Ozarks farm where they grew up - the Homeplace. Varied backgrounds and viewpoints ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims to land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance.

Review:

Back to the Homeplace is an amazing journey of family values and individuals trying to find their place in life. Author William Leverne Smith brings together his love of genealogy and family storytelling in his writing of a story that could touch any one's life these days. The description of the Missouri Ozarks, which has numerous kinds of terrain, landscape and buildings, is amazingly accurate. It makes you want to go on a road trip to view the beautiful area!

The plot is well written with a will dividing a family who all want the farm for different reasons. The twist of the will requires them to live on the land for 2 years. Could you up and leave your life and start over with your family somewhere else? You will see in the story how this effects all the families involved as each day goes by and decisions have to be made. From the older generations to the younger kids, all must deal with new issues that arise from the new environment that surrounds them.

This book evolves around the year 1987. At the beginning of each chapter, there are little news clips of what was going on at the time. Many social issues were active at that time and some are covered in the story like the AIDS epidemic.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a great family oriented book that makes you think about the life you lead. The characters will make you think about people in your own family that may act or be like them (I sure found that out.) The writing is easy to read, but my only critique would be a more language use or slang of the area and a little less formal words used. This didn't distract me from the story, but living in the area myself, people speak a little more laid back. Take a trip in to the lives of the Bevins family and see what you may learn about those close to you. ( )
  Allie64 | May 1, 2010 |
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